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Russian youth against the golden composition of Italy
THE STRONGEST TEAM OF DECADES
Two strongest teams of the decade - Russia and Italy - will play in the upcoming Fed Cup final. For seven years, from 2004 to 2010, only these countries won the cup. At the same time, in a face-to-face confrontation in the final, they came together only once: in 2007, the Russians achieved victory with a score of 4-0.
If the USSR national team, and then Russia, was always in sight, then Italy began to assert itself only in the XXI century. The national team, which won the Federation Cup three times, was in the second World Group 15 years ago. The situation began to change with the arrival of Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta . It was thanks to their efforts that the team began a rapid rise and at first firmly established itself in the group of the strongest, and then began to regularly reach the decisive stages. In 2006, the Italians reached the final for the first time and defeated the Belgian national team led by Justine Henin .
Red soil. Italy, Cagliari.
Italy: Sara Errani (7th position in singles ranking), Roberta Vinci (13), Flavia Pennetta (31), Karin Knapp ( 31). Captain - Corrado Barazzutti.
Russia: Alexandra Panova (136), Alisa Kleybanova (183), Irina Khromacheva (236), Margarita Gasparyan (315). Captain - Shamil Tarpishchev.
History of personal meetings: 1 - 5 (1 - 3 excluding matches Italy - USSR).
It was Henin who brought her team two points, but Italy bounced back from the score 1-2 and won the trophy. Over the course of four years, the hostesses of the 2013 final reached the final three more times and achieved success on two occasions. Only Schiavone and Pennetta were gradually replaced by the younger Sara Errani and Robert Vinci . In fact, Vinci is less than a year younger than Pennetta, but her talent began to reveal itself much later.
However, their contribution to the success of Italy is almost the same. Vinci won 22 matches out of 26 (including all 18 in a pair), while Francesca's figure was 22 out of 27. Schiavone made a significant contribution in singles - 20-4. Now the main hope of the team is Errani, but she does not always play successfully for the national team. At the moment, the Italians won their last title in 2010, while in all three matches the wards of Corrado Barazzutti were noticeably stronger than their rivals. Then the young Errani played quite rarely, and the role of the first violins was played by Schiavone with Pennetta. After this success, the Italians stumbled twice in the semifinals, and on the third attempt they managed to find themselves in the final again.
As for the recent history of the Russian national team, the charges of Shamil Tarpishchev since 1999 at least every three years we reached the final of the main team tournament. The golden time fell in the middle of the last decade - the Russians won four titles in five years, while, unlike the Italians, more than 10 tennis players contributed. Three girls at once, with all three Helen, ohheld 26 victories each in a T-shirt with the word Russia on the back - Makarova, Likhovtseva and Dementieva . All of them have already completed their careers, so Svetlana Kuznetsova has a chance to become the most useful Russian tennis player - she brought our team 25 points.
HISTORY OF PERSONAL MEETINGS
USSR national teams / Russia and Italy have met each other six times, and only in one case the Italians turned out to be stronger. In the 2009 home semi-final, Schiavone brought her team two points, and Pennetta added one more. The USSR team won twice - in 1968 and 1980, and the first meeting between Russia and Italy took place in 2005 in Brindisi. Then Dementieva showed flawless tennis, which brought two points to the piggy bank, and Elena Bovina won another Victoria. That match took place within the first round, and two years later these teams were fighting in Luzhniki for the main trophy. Two points from Kuznetsova and one victory of Anna Chakvetadze allowed the Russian women to win the cup for the third time. The next meeting in Moscow also ended with a dry victory of the hostesses - 5-0. The whole team took part in the defeat - Vera Zvonareva, Kuznetsova, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Ekaterina Makarova .
WITHOUT TOP-100 PLAYERS
Before each Fed Cup match, the Russian national team had certain difficulties with the line-up, but the depth of the bench always made it possible to display a combat-ready team with practically no loss in quality.
But not this time. Due to various circumstances, the strongest Russian tennis player in Cagliari will become the 12th racket of Russia - Alexandra Panova . Recall that Maria Sharapova ended the season ahead of schedule due to injury, and Maria Kirilenko, Elena Vesnina and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova are playing this week at the Champions Tournament in Sofia. Starting next year, the calendar will be changed, and the FedCup final will be divorced from the Tournament of Champions, but this season the layering has caused big problems for the Russian team. As for Svetlana Kuznetsova, even before the start of the season, it was decided not to use her in the matches of this rally. But in any case, Kuznetsova would not have been able to play, since she had an operation planned, after which she could not go to court for three weeks.
We decided to play as young people, because a new roster needs to be formed sometime ... Both Khromacheva and Gasparyan are still quite young, they lack experience. With Kleybanova everything is clear - she needs to be given practice, given confidence in her abilities. Panova plays a good pair. We think about the future, not hold on to the result. The opposing team is complex, tenacious, and even plays on slow ground. It is very difficult to move from the hall to the air. The main thing here, in my opinion, is that the WTA has spoiled the whole situation. But this is the second year it has been this way. Dogo with menthey stole that they hadn't played all Davis Cup weeks. And the WTA did not make concessions, - Shamil Tarpischev said.
Thus, Alexandra Panova, Alisa Kleybanova, Irina Khromacheva and Margarita Gasparyan will defend the colors of Russia in the final, and only Alisa has experience in the Federation Cup ... She played four matches and was the strongest in three. Italy has no difficulties with the composition. Roberta Vinci, who could play in Sofia this week, honestly admitted that the Fed Cup final is more important to her, while she stressed that the financial reward from the Italian tennis federation also contributed to this decision. Besides her and Errani, Flavia Pennetta and Karin Knapp are summoned. Bookmakers are absolutely sure of the victory of the site owners - the coefficient for their success is 1.07, and for the triumph of the Russian national team - 6.55.